WASHINGTON–Senate Banking Committee action on its version of financial services reform will begin Monday, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the committee, said Monday.

He said he hopes to be able to send the legislation to the Senate floor by March 26, when the Senate leaves for a 10-day Easter recess.

At the same time, Republican members of the committee pledged to work with Dodd to draft a bipartisan bill they could support, but cautioned they want the committee to act deliberately when considering the measure.

In a statement early Monday morning, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said he believed a bipartisan consensus could be reached. He added in a television interview that he believed there was “85 to 90 percent agreement already.”

Dodd responded that that “might be a little optimistic,” but welcomed the sentiment. He said markup of the legislation will begin next Monday in the committee and proceed throughout the week with a goal of completion before the Easter recess.

Later Monday, Shelby added that, “Republicans want to reach a bipartisan agreement with Chairman Dodd on substantive financial reform that protects taxpayers, strengthens our economy, and preserves the competitiveness of our financial markets”

He added that, “Over the coming days, my Republican Banking Committee colleagues and I will give Chairman Dodd’s proposal the serious consideration it deserves.”

Shelby cautioned, however that, “Given the magnitude, complexity, and importance of this task, it is critical that we have sufficient time for a thorough review.

“This bill is 1,336 pages long. Forcing the Banking Committee to vote on this proposal in a single week is unrealistic and undercuts the potential for bipartisan agreement. Strong reform should not fear scrutiny.”